Story and photos by Sgt. James Mercure
COMBAT OUTPOST PENNSYLVANIA, Afghanistan — Historically, insurgents will fight with increased tenacity during the summer months, and during the winter and early spring they prepare.
Unfortunately for the enemy, the Marines and Afghan National Security Forces thwart their plans by tracking them down and destroying their fighting positions.
Partnered with the ANSF, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment recently demolished one of these complex fighting positions March 5.
“One of our earlier patrols found the position, so it was our job to verify the find and destroy it,” said Staff Sgt. Adam York, platoon sergeant, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Co., 1st Bn., 8th Marines and Plymouth, N.H., native. “Once we checked for improvised explosive devices, we spoke with the village elder to make sure his village was okay with us destroying it, and he was completely for it. The whole village wanted to help us out because they don’t want them here any more than we do. They live nearby, and their kids play around here, so the last thing they want is to get caught in crossfire caused by insurgents.”
What made the fighting position such a threat were small holes large enough to stick a rifle barrel through known as “murder holes.”
“They positioned the murder holes toward an open field and toward a compound,” said Cpl. Josh Czerepka, combat engineer, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Co., 1st Bn., 8th Marines. “It had been hidden there for awhile, and they were most likely waiting till the summer to use them, so we destroyed it before they had the chance.
“We used blocks of C4 explosive to level it, and it did the job without damaging anyone’s home nearby,” the Orlando, Fla., native added.
The Marines and ANSF will continue to find these fighting positions and those who built them in an effort to provide safety and maintain security for the Afghan people.